Mon, Oct 02, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Officials vow to help TSMC build plant

GREAT RESPONSIBILITY:The plant could be the biggest investment in Taiwanese history, but before it can be realized, permits, water and electricity supply need to be taken care of

Staff writer, with CNA

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on a massive investment project to build a new fab in the south announced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to be completed in one-and-a-half years to ensure that TSMC can go ahead with its plans, the Southern Taiwan Science Park Bureau said on Saturday.

TSMC aims to build an advanced 3-nanometer foundry in the Tainan Science Park (台南科學園區), which is a part of the Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學工業園).

Taiwan Science Park Administration director-general Lin Wei-cheng (林威呈) said that his office would need about one year to collect information about the project’s possible effect on the environment.

The bureau, which is supervised by the Ministry of Science and Technology, will need an additional six months to finish the assessment report before a 30-hectare plot of land can be assigned for construction of the new facility by the end of 2020, Lin said.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, on Friday announced that it had chosen Tainan as the site to house its first 3-nanometer process fab, which is expected to help the company maintain the lead over its peers in the global market.

While TSMC did not disclose financial details about the plan, local media reported that the investment could total NT$500 billion (US$16.5 billion) and commercial production is expected to begin in 2022.

The fab is expected to be the largest investment ever made in Taiwan.

Lin said that the timeframe for the bureau to complete an EIA report for TSMC’s newest investment plan is expected to meet the company’s aim to start mass production by 2022.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs will be in charge of water and power supply for the plant, he said, adding that about half of the water supplied to the plant is to come from recycled sources, while tap water would make up the other half.

Construction of a water recycling plant in Tainan’s Yongkang District (永康) is under way and other water recycling facilities near the new plant are being planned to meet TSMC’s needs.

As for power consumption, Lin said that Premier William Lai (賴清德) has promised to ensure sufficient supply of electricity to TSMC.

TSMC would probably not have announced such an important investment if the company had failed to secure a firm promise from the government, Lin added.

Before Friday’s announcement, the market speculated that TSMC would build the sophisticated plant outside Taiwan, possibly in the US, amid worries over adequate water and power supply.

“Now it turns out that TSMC is willing to stay in Taiwan. The move will be economically positive for the country,” Hua Nan Securities Co (華南永昌證券) analyst Kevin Su (蘇俊宏) said.

Taiwan needs massive investments to boost its economy to offset the effect from possible weakness in global demand in the future, said Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of National Central University’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development.

TSMC’s purchases of production equipment and its hiring for the new plant, as well as future exports of its products, will no doubt benefit Taiwan’s economy, said Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research’s Economic Forecasting Center.

Some market analysts said TSMC’s investments would prompt its suppliers at home and abroad to pour funds into Taiwan and raise production to meet the demand from such an important customer.

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